Watching TV

Q 1: In our city, some people who are not scholars, but who mix with scholars and learn from them, deem the television unlawful. They say that by having a television set in the house, the husband, wife and children are as sinful as those who commit Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage), Allah forbid. Is having a television set at home and watching it Haram (prohibited) or not?

A: Watching television becomes permissible when a Muslim is watching something lawful, such as Qur'an recitation, religious talks, business reports, and political news. It becomes impermissible when watching something unlawful, such as dissolute songs with evil lyrics, men listening to women singers even if it is a decent song, or men swaying and dancing while singing. In general, having a television set and watching it depends on the ruling on the material being watched, whether lawful or unlawful.Even lawful shows can become unlawful if the person exceeds the limits and wastes much time that is better used (Part No. 26; Page No. 272) to benefit oneself, one's family and society.To be on the safe side, a Muslim should better abstain from buying a television set and watching it, for it can be a means to listening to and watching unlawful things, such as naked pictures and seducing movements that provoke Fitnah (temptation). Those who considered having a television set in the house an equal sin to Zina might have been referring to the ear committing Zina by listening to music, and the eye committing Zina by watching unlawful pictures. They probably meant to discourage you from having a television set and to strongly disapprove of those who have one. This explanation is true, but it needs elaboration to be more convincing. Allah is the One sought for help and is the source of success.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.